In the US, a second-generation Toyota Mirai has officially set a new Guinness World Record for the longest distance by a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) without refuelling.
During this record attempt, the Mirai was able to drive 1360km on a single tank of hydrogen, beating its previous world record attempt by over 350km.
The test was conducted in late August 2021 with the Mirai doing a round-trip tour of Southern California over two days.
At the helm of the record-breaking Mirai was professional ‘hypermiler’ Wayne Gerdes and co-pilot Bob Winger.
On the first day of the record attempt, the team filled the Mirai full of hydrogen at the Toyota Technical Centre in Gardena, California.
The team set off on a drive loop which saw them drive through San Ysidro, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Malibu.
During the day the drivers swapped twice and logged a total of 761km driven.
The second day of the record attempt consisted of more driving loops where the team drove through morning and afternoon rush hour traffic on the San Diego freeway between Los Angeles and Orange County.
On this second day the team were able to log a total 599km before the Mirai ran out of hydrogen.
The whole world record attempt was overseen by Guinness World Record adjudicator, Michael Empric.
He validated the world record attempt by checking a seal on the hydrogen tank at both the beginning and the end of the test to make sure it wasn’t tampered with.
There was also a GPS tracking the distance that the Mirai had travelled, which was witnessed by Empric upon its return to the Toyota Technical Centre.
In order to achieve such a distance on the test, the driving duo had to employ hypermiling techniques that optimised the Mirai’s performance under specific weather and driving conditions.
This was also complemented by simple fuel-saving driving tips such as proper wheel alignment, proper tyre pressure, removing unnecessary weight, avoiding quick acceleration and heavy braking, avoiding high speeds, and minimising the use of features such as air-conditioning.
This new record beats the existing record that the Mirai held earlier in 2021.
In this earlier test, a team from Toyota Europe was able to travel 1003km on a full tank of hydrogen.
At the time this was a world record for the furthest distance travelled by a FCEV on a single tank of hydrogen.
The Toyota Mirai can hold up to 5.6kg of hydrogen across its three tanks and can be filled up in five minutes according to Toyota.
It also has a 1.2kWh lithium-ion battery for storing energy produced by the fuel cell and regenerative braking.
Power is handled by a single rear-mounted electric motor producing approximately 134kW of power and 300Nm of torque. Top speed is a claimed 175km/h.
More recently in Australia, the Toyota Mirai was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The safety authority said the hydrogen-fuelled powertrain and high-pressure storage tanks had “no effect on the Mirai’s inherent safety”.
In Australia, the Mirai is only available to fleets with only 20 examples brought for use in select business and government fleets.
While fuel cell vehicles such as the Nexo and Mirai boast impressive ranges and refuelling times, refilling infrastructure is lacklustre in Australia.
Work also continues on developing an environmentally friendly and efficient method for mass extraction of hydrogen.
In Australia, Toyota can produce up to 80kg of renewable hydrogen per day at its Centre of Excellence facility in Altona, Victoria.
Although it’s the most abundant element in the universe, most of the hydrogen found on Earth is bound up in compounds, such as water.
MORE: Everything Toyota Mirai